NEW YORK -- Ness, a fintech company building credit cards to reduce the cost of wellcare, has officially launched its first product, the Ness Rewards App, and $15.5 million in seed investment funding. The round was led by Will Ventures with participation from Core Innovation Capital, Accomplice, Digitalis, GFC, Portage Ventures, Refactor Capital, RiverPark, and Atypical. Also participating are founders and senior executives from some of the most well known and beloved health and wellness companies, including Sweetgreen, Mirror, Headspace, Thrive Market, Whole30, Oura, Quartet Health, Four Sigmatic, RXBar, Everly Health, Pillpack, Ginger, One Medical, Galileo Health, Oscar Health, Noom, and Hungryroot.
The Ness Rewards App allows consumers to earn points for the spending they're already doing on their health. Eventually, all "healthy actions"—from fitness activity to physician visits—will be rewarded. Today, consumers can redeem these points for offers at wellness brands like Sweetgreen, Thrive Market, Barry's Bootcamp, and more. In addition to this funding, Ness is also announcing the acquisition of WellSet's 4,000-person nationwide network of practitioners. Soon, consumers will be able to use the points they earn to see experts like health coaches, dieticians, therapists, and doulas—a first-of-its-kind offering that makes expert health services more accessible. Ness' unique approach includes its own wellness framework, developed by Co-Founder & Chief Medical Officer, Christina Gerdes, MD. The wellness framework is used to make decisions on building products and providing health guidance to consumers.
Next, Ness is launching a suite of credit cards to accelerate those rewards and give cardholders exclusive access to unparalleled benefits from their favorite health and wellness brands. Ness plans to even offer medical benefits, supplemental insurance, and comprehensive health insurance on top of its credit cards to reward consumers for living healthy with more healthy living, shift their spend for the better, and reduce the cost of wellcare for all.
Frustrated that his insurance wouldn't reimburse visits with his therapist during the pandemic, two-time entrepreneur Derek Flanzraich (previously the CEO & Founder of Greatist, acquired by Healthline) started Ness to build a better way to reduce the cost of preventative health. On a mission to democratize access to health, Flanzraich started Greatist to make health & wellness more accessible and now Ness is working to make it more affordable. The founding team includes Christina Gerdes (Co Founder & Chief Medical Officer), Katherine Lynch (Co Founder & Head of Business Operations), and Kenneth So (Co Founder & Chief Experience Officer) among others with experience from ex-Stripe, AmEx, Cityblock, Oscar, SoFi, Uber, and Amazon.
"Ultimately, we see credit cards as the best platform for consumers to get health insurance that'll stick with them for 30 to 40 years, not just 3 to 4," says Flanzraich. "When we can justify investing in long-term health right now, that'll lead to a healthier society with health plan incentives totally aligned for the first time."
This latest round of funding will help grow the product, team, userbase, and commitment to credit and compliance.